Love at first sight is passe. In this age, hordes of lovers fall in love before even meeting in real life. Welcome to love in the cyberspace. Form over substance still rules although it is progressively being eroded by the ever-changing landscape of how we communicate. Face-to-face meetings are no longer what it seems. Webcams have superseded the need for both to be physically present at the same location. The Internet has forever altered the way we date and how we fall in love.
Before the flourishing of webcams and voice chats, there was the Internet Relay Chat (IRC). That was where Wuan and I met and fell in love. We did not fall in love at first chat. It was gradual. Nevertheless, our relationship had been very textually charged from the beginning. I was first smitten not by her appearance but by the interesting exchanges we had via IRC. Lifeless as it may seem, our web conversations of black texts against a white background burst with colours and sensations only both of us can understand. We must have had fertile imaginations then. We have even developed our own web lingo that we use in real life too.
We have not stopped chatting since we began in 1998, except for the days that we spent time together in real life. Between the two of us, we have exchanged millions and millions of words and have racked up more 1,500 chatting days.
Nobody sums up our relationship more appropriately than Savage Garden. Every time I listen them sing I Knew I Loved You, I truly understand how one can fall in love without ever meeting. I had indeed fallen in love with Wuan before I had even set eyes on her. I first fell for her wit and intelligence before I fell for her looks. I wonder how this all could have happened without the Internet. The times that I think of Wuan, I count my blessings that there is a Vinton G. Cerf, one of the acclaimed fathers of the Internet, Jarkko Oikarinen, the creator of IRC, and Khaled Mardam-Bey, the software developer who wrote mIRC, the IRC client that Wuan and I have been using to chat until now. Without their inventiveness, something would still be missing in my life.